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CIA Seeking Buy-In on Torture and Secret Prisons

The newest ploy is to go public with the secret detention centers so that it will become more palatable.

"Finally the burden of this program will not rest only on the shoulders of the CIA," said James Pavitt, who headed CIA covert operations when the program was put in place, with White House approval, after Sept. 11, 2001.

Gee, i'm so sympathetic about the pressures you felt about keeping it a secret that you tortured prisoners in secret locations.

"This was a tough world and we were asked to do some tough things," he said, adding that such efforts were always within the law.

Yeah, that happens when you change the law so that what you do stops being illegal.

In the past year, the CIA has studied more closely the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques it and other agencies have used and concluded that some of those were worth discarding.

"Harsh" interrogation techniques.

CIA officials have eliminated some of those techniques and, within the last two months, begun to consult for the first time with the full Senate and House intelligence committees about creating a new list of techniques.
The idea, said several administration officials, is to get Congress's political buy-in to a program that is fraught with some of the most difficult questions facing the government: how a country steeped in the rule of law should treat suspected terrorists it believes has valuable information.
Administration officials said Wednesday that the need for secret CIA prisons continues, but that they will seek legislation immunizing CIA employees from prosecution for anything they may have been asked to do that might now be considered illegal.

At the same time, the administration will ask the intelligence committees to give it guidance to draw up a separate, shorter list of harsh techniques it might still employee under certain circumstances.

The point, said one senior official, "is to make the program more durable" and not "subject to the pendulum swings" of Congress or the president.

Translation: They get Congress involved in making decisions on what's acceptable and what's not and when the shit hits the fan, Congress is just as dirty as the CIA so nobody is likely to get penalized. Good ass-covering strategy.

Prisoners were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques including feigned drowning, extreme isolation, slapping, sleep deprivation, reduced food intake, and light and sound bombardment -- sometimes in combination with each other.

Human rights groups and many international legal experts have said these techniques amount to torture. The administration insists, as Bush did again Wednesday, that it has never authorized or used torture.

Also, they investigated themselves and determined that everything they've done so far was legal and not torture.

By min | September 7, 2006, 3:25 PM | Liberal Outrage